Gen­tle res­cue ro­bot sees through smoke

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

A GROUP of re­search lead­ers in Ja­pan have de­vel­oped a pro­to­type of a construction ro­bot for dis­as­ter re­lief sit­u­a­tions.

This pro­to­type has dras­ti­cally im­proved op­er­abil­ity and mo­bil­ity com­pared to con­ven­tional construction ma­chines.

This group, which com­prises the uni­ver­si­ties at Osaka, Kobe and To­hoku, and Tokyo as well as the Tokyo In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy, de­vel­oped construction ro­bots for dis­as­ter re­lief in or­der to solve var­i­ous chal­lenges of con­ven­tional construction ma­chines used in such sit­u­a­tions. The project forms part of the Im­pact Tough Ro­bot­ics Chal­lenge Pro­gram (with the Im­pact the short­ened name of the Im­puls­ing Paradigm Chal­lenge through Dis­rup­tive Tech­nolo­gies Pro­gramme).

The re­searchers aim to dis­rupt with tech­nol­ogy us­ing a ma­chine with el­e­men­tal tech­nolo­gies un­der devel­op­ment. Ver­i­fi­ca­tion tests were per­formed on places that rep­re­sented dis­as­ter sites, and a cer­tain level of per­for­mance was con­firmed.

Their pro­to­type looks like an or­di­nary hy­draulic shovel, but in­cludes tech­nol­ogy to quickly and sta­bly con­trol heavy power ma­chines with high in­er­tia; hy­draulic sen­sors and hap­tic feed­back to pre­cisely con­trol the force of the pinch­ers dur­ing tele-op­er­ated res­cue mis­sions; and sup­port for a drone to get over­head or even in-door im­ages.

Four fish eye lenses give the op­er­a­tor a 360° view of the res­cue area from the roof of the ro­bot.

The op­er­a­tor can op­er­ate the ro­bot even in fog or smoke, us­ing a far-in­frared ray cam­era ca­pa­ble of view­ing with long­wave-length light.

The group said in a state­ment they are also de­vel­op­ing new ro­bots with a double ro­ta­tion mech­a­nism and double arms to achieve higher op­er­abil­ity and ter­rain adapt­abil­ity over, for ex­am­ple, bro­ken slabs of con­crete.


What looks like a lit­tle yel­low ma­chine is ac­tu­ally a res­cue ro­bot packed with tech­nol­ogy to see in smoke and gen­tly help lift peo­ple from bro­ken build­ings.

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